Speaking of the App Store and the market for pro utility software, here, once again, is Dieter Bohn:
It’s not every day we get to talk about a good old-fashioned
utility app update. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re a dying
breed, but the Apple App Store platform dynamics of recent years
have made their row much harder to hoe.
Which is one reason I’m happy to say that if you’re a Mac or
iPhone user (or, ideally, both), you should absolutely go check
out the newly updated Fantastical apps. There are a few new
features and parity across platforms — I personally am excited
for a calendar app that integrates with several to-do apps.
The thing about this update that may grab some attention is that
it is moving to a subscription model. Historically, this kind of
move has sparked consternation, but I’m not feeling any of that.
It’s $4.99 a month or — in my preferred way to talk about
subscription pricing — $40 per year (a $20 discount). That
subscription gets you access to the iPhone, Mac, iPad, and Apple
Watch apps. Non-Apple users should look elsewhere.
I think the subscription model is totally fair, especially given
Flexibits’ history of updates and quality. That’s partially
because, as I alluded to up top, there really aren’t better
options for this category of apps given the rules laid down by
Apple in the App Store.
Consternation indeed. Lots of complaining on Twitter, and Fantastical 3’s App Store reviews have been dragged down by angry users complaining about the pricing change. For users who only used Fantastical on iPhone, I can see the complaint about pricing — it went from a one-time purchase of $4-5 to a $40 annual subscription. That’s a big jump. But — and this is a huge “but” — Flexibits (Fantastical’s developer) went out of its way to let anyone who owned Fantastical 2 keep the features they already had access to when upgrading to Fantastical 3. If you owned Fantastical 2 you can use Fantastical 3 free of charge and keep the features you already had.
And if, like me, you used Fantastical across iPhone, iPad, and Mac (they previously sold the iPad app as a separate version from iPhone), $40 a year is quite reasonable. Fantastical is a professional calendaring (and now task management) app, and as Bohn points out, subscriptions are the best way for a developer like Flexibits to succeed in the App Store.
★ Tuesday, 4 February 2020